While getting ready to write this month's Classic Trash column on Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series, Nicole tripped on a tree root and was unconscious in a bed of leaves for several hours. This, as best as she can remember it, was the ensuing dream.
Forks, Washington. The Year 3013.
As the dawn broke, I continued doing my new jigsaw puzzle, a beautiful interlocking mosaic released to commemorate the 500th anniversary of a successful Israeli-Palestinian two-state solution based largely but not exclusively on the 1967 borders. It wasn't a physical puzzle, of course, since we now had those retina field computers you accessed with brain waves.
I had never quite gotten used to not sleeping. Sometimes I tossed back a handful of Ambien just to see if I could zone out for a bit, but consciousness never really left me. It gave you a lot of time to think, though. Sometimes I just stood in the middle of the room, not needing to lean on things or adjust my body in any way, thinking about how many people there were in the world, and how some of them probably shared my insatiable need to be constantly provided with positive reinforcement and emotional reassurance.
After moving the last piece into place, I crossed the room to where Edward was seated at the piano, tapping out his arrangement of the Kindertotenlieder absentmindedly with his toes.
"Hey, Edward," I said. "Do you want to go hunt a mountain lion and then stare into each other's eyes in a field of flowers?" I managed to place a positive inflection on the words, but, in truth, the idea barely held my interest.
Edward closed the lid of the piano.
"I've been meaning to tell you something, Bella," he said, somberly. I stared into his eyes, which I suddenly noticed were golden, not black, as they had been the night before when we came back from not-eating dinner with Rosalie and Emmett. It had been the usual Tuesday date night; Emmett broke a bunch of rocks, and Rosalie was a total bitch for no reason.
"Wait, did you go hunting without me?"
"Yeah, it was just an impulsive, last-minute thing."
"You should have said something," I said lightly. At least, I tried to say it lightly, but my stomach had begun to churn. Or it would have churned, if I still had stomach acid. I also would have begun to hunch over and pick at my cuticles, if I didn't have perfect vampire posture and really strong cuticles.
"I've met someone."
"Is this a joke? Are you trying to protect me from something again? Because I don't need that any more, see?" I took a knife out of the butcher block and dropped it point-down on my foot, then shrugged to demonstrate how neutral my reaction was.
Edward smiled sadly. "That does take me back. I remember when that guy broke your arm and threw you into a glass wall. You were terrified."
"I don't understand."
"It's just… after a thousand years, I miss how cool you used to think it was that I was a vampire. You really looked up to me. I would pick you up and carry you places really quickly, and get mad when you had outside interests or friends in case they might hurt you, and you were really into that."
"But I'm a vampire too, now. I haven't faced anything resembling danger since that whole Volturi mess."
"Exactly. Thank God, I thought this was going to be hard." Edward smiled, and took my ice-cold hand in his.
"I was a vampire, and you weren't, and now you can do all the same things I can, and I don't have this amazing new world to show you anymore. But I can show it to Montana."
"Edward," I said, gritting my extremely sharp teeth, "who the actual fuck is Montana?"
"Just a girl. She accidentally saw me sparkling. I told her everything. Then she watched me hunt. Then we made out. Then we had sex, but I was way, way more careful about pulling out than I was that last time."
"Oh my God. Did you even think about Reneesme? How is she going to feel about this?"
"She'll be fine. Children want their parents to be happy. Also, she's literally a thousand years old, and married to a pedophile wolf who engaged in classic grooming behavior with her for a couple of decades, so I think she knows that life gets weird sometimes."
"Edward… Edward," I said, waiting for the tears to come. But they didn't. I felt okay. Light. Fresh. Like a field of purple-y flowers.
"I can't tell if it's your general flat affect, or if you're not that mad, Bella," Edward said, in a questioning tone.
"I… I'm not that mad, honestly. But I do have somewhere to be."
I kissed him gently on top of his head, opened the door, and began running with my super-speed to our Thomas Kinkade sex cottage, while a When Harry Met Sally-esque montage played in my head.
As I got to the door, it opened. Before me stood Alice, wearing nothing but a knowing smile and short, smooth fingernails. Her hair was backlit by the fire she had made in the hearth.
"Alice, were you… were you waiting for me? Did you see this coming?" I stammered helplessly.
"For a thousand years, Bella. For a thousand years."
And that night we were not divided. Also, I learned where my clitoris actually was and that we had basically identical Netflix queues.
1. What is the first line of your imaginary Twilight fanfic?
2. You've read "Our Bella, Ourselves," yes? I think it is basically correct. What do you think?
3. Movie time! Who is the hottest? I would have said Jasper, but his hair was dumb in the last movie. Emmett is kind of a meathead, but he also seems like he would have that Ryan Lochte Sex Idiot appeal.
4. Why do they all have dumb hair?
5. I genuinely enjoyed all of these horrible books and movies, but they are terribly written and gross. Do you think these horrible books would still be horrible if they were well-written, or would the subject matter and grossness of Jacob-and-Reneesme still doom them?
6. Do you want to be a Twilight vampire? I want to be a Twilight vampire so badly, apart from not-sleeping.
7. Even more than being a Twilight vampire, I want to be the person who wrote the Twilight books, but really well and not-gross.
8. Will each generation read these books, or will they eventually fall into the dark maw of history?
9. Do you ever wonder what the next thing will be? I mean, there are going to be more Big Things that we obsess about like we did with Harry Potter and Twilight. I can't wait for it.
10. Kristen Stewart is extremely hot. Agree or disagree?
11. Taylor Lautner is eventually going to have the best People Magazine coming-out cover ever. Calling it now and for all time.
Previously in Classic Trash: 'Papillon': Thug Life In French Guiana
Nicole Cliffe is the books editor of The Hairpin and the proprietress of Lazy Self-Indulgent Book Reviews.